Alphabet’s Waymo Sues Uber Over Self-Driving Tech
Lidar Technology. What Is It?
Since satellite navigation systems are only accurate to within 16 feet and can be easily flummoxed by high-rise and glass-fronted buildings, autonomous vehicles require an array of other sensors to position themselves precisely and maintain awareness of nearby pedestrians, vehicles and other objects
LIDAR IS A RADAR-LIKE
individual channel creates one contour line, and together, those lines generate a 3-D image of the surrounding environment. San Francisco: It took Alphabet Inc’s Waymo seven years to design and build a laser-scanning system to guide its self-driving cars. Uber Technologies allegedly did it in nine months.
Waymo claims in a lawsuit filed on Thursday that was possible because a former employee stole the designs and technology and started a new company. Waymo accuses several employees of Otto, a self-driving startup Uber acquired in August for $ 680 million, of lifting technical information from Google’s autonomous car project. The “calculated theft” of Alphabet’s technology earned Otto’s employees more than $500 million, according to the complaint in San Francisco federal court. “We take the allegations made against Otto and Uber employees seriously and we will review this matter carefully,” Uber spokeswoman Chelsea Kohler said in
an email. The claims in Thursday’s case include unfair competition, patent infringement and trade secret misappropriation. Waymo was inadvertently copied on an email from one of its vendors, which had an attachment showing an Uber lidar circuit board that had a “striking resemblance” to Waymo’s design, according to the complaint. Anthony Levandowski, a former manager at Waymo, i n December 2 015 downloaded more than 14,0 0 0 proprietary and confidential files, including the lidar circuit board designs, according to the complaint. He also allegedly created a domain name for his new company and confided in some of his Waymo colleagues of plans to “replicate” its technology for a competitor.
“Misappropriating this technology is akin to stealing a secret recipe from a beverage company,” Waymo wrote in a blog post explaining the suit.